After the Germanwings crash and Nepal earthquake, a former journalist tracked the news on his smartphone. It was more than a desire to know the latest developments. It was a basic question bred into him from years on the job: “How would I have reported and written this differently?”
Everyone filters every event through their own prisms, and they respond accordingly.
- The Red Cross executive: How can we help?
- The clergyman: Pray for their souls.
- The plaintiff’s attorney: Who can we sue?
- The politician: How can I turn this to my advantage?
- The Crisis PR team: How can we soften the damage?
Your lens is the sum of every element of your life. Where you were born. The unity or dysfunction of your family. The evolution of what you’ve been taught and embraced — from cradle to college to career. Your social and economic status — as a child versus now. Your religion and politics. What you do for a living.
These factors, and more, shape your agenda and set your tone.
Not only for tragedies such as Germanwings and Nepal. There the sense of loss is overwhelming and the desire to help is universal.
But no such agreement exists for hot-button issues on which there is a deep division of beliefs — the Baltimores and Fergusons, abortion and gay marriage, athletes who use steroids and batter spouses. This where the battle is ultimately met.
Powerful forces wax and wane. Permanent resolution is forever out of reach. Whichever side loses today may retreat for the moment, but will never surrender. What’s at stake is too fundamental to what they believe and, therefore, to who they are.
Understand these forces, and you can channel them (the most entrenched extremes aside). Whether you do it for good or ill depends upon your motives.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.
For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net